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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine: All Information Related To The Essential JE Vaccine

There are various viral infections that are caused by mosquitoes. Japanese Encephalitis is one of the leading causes of viral infection in the Asian continent. This disease is caused by the Japanese Encephalitis virus. This virus affects not only humans. It infects animals like pigs and horses as well. Japanese Encephalitis virus does not spread from person to person. Unlike many viral infections, the transmission of this virus in a large number of people is not known. JE Vaccine is administered to children beginning from 2 months of age. The vaccine is also administered to those people who plan to spend considerable time in any part of the Asian continent. It is also given to those who are visiting a place which has seen a large outbreak of this disease.

Japanese Encephalitis causes brain inflammation and subsequently fever, headache, confusion. In many cases, this virus has also been known to causes death. However, a significant feature of viral infection is that less than one percent of people who are infected with it develop symptoms. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the infection can turn fatal for around 30 percent of those who begin to show the symptoms of this infection. Before we delve more into the JE Vaccine, and find out is JE vaccine safe, let us find  out what exactly is Japanese Encephalitis virus?

Japanese Encephalitis – What Is It?

JE Vaccine

A JE virus vaccine, Credit: Canva

It is a virus that falls into the group of flavivirus. This virus, as mentioned above, can infect animals apart from human beings. Horses and pigs are some of the animals in whose bodies the virus has been detected. The host or the source of this virus are wild birds. The vectors or the one who passes the virus on is mosquitoes. It is essential to note that the vector or the mosquito does not cause you to have the disease. It merely passes the disease to the next person.

On infecting an animal, it may become the transmitter of the virus. With time, mosquitoes feed on these animals, and thus, contract the virus. It is how this virus spreads from animal to animal and from animals to human beings. People become prone to JE virus when they reside in the areas where there is high concentration of this virus. Usually, these are the rural places.

JE virus is most likely to make children its victim. Hence, the JE Vaccine is mainly administered to children. You might wonder, At what age JE vaccine is given? The answer is two months. Such small children are prone to instantly contracting the disease because of their lack of immunity. The adults acquire sufficient immunity and thus they remain protected from the virus.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine-Why Is It Given?

JE Virus vaccine injection

A JE virus vaccine injection, Credit: Canva

JE Vaccine is important to acquire immunity against JE infection. People who are living in the rural areas of the Asian continent should get themselves vaccinated as the JE virus is rampant in these parts. Travellers who spend a lot of time in the rural parts of the continent should also safeguard themselves from the infection. Many people do not show any symptoms of this virus even if they are infected by it. Protecting yourself from the threat of this infection is important and so JE Vaccine should be taken.

Is JE vaccine safe?

Every vaccine can make a person experience certain side effects. The JE Vaccine is no exception. Usually its side effects are mild, but in some cases they can turn into a severe problem. That is when the question of its safety arises. Besides, since the JE Vaccine is usually administered to small children, people often wonder, Is japanese encephalitis Vaccine Safe for Babies?

The vaccine can cause side effects like pain, redness, or tenderness in the area where the vaccine is injected. It can also cause that area to swell. Fever is another commonly experienced side effect of this vaccine and it occurs primarily in children. Adults may experience headache, and joint pain as  JE Vaccine side effects.

Severe problems that can occur after JE Vaccine

As mentioned before, sometimes the side effects of this vaccine can be serious. Severe reactions are observed in people but they are very rare. The following problems can occur, although rarely, after getting vaccinated against this virus.

  1. Fainting spells after the vaccination process ends. People can feel dizzy and so the doctors recommend them to sit and relax for around 15-20 minutes after being injected with the vaccine.

  2. Pain in the shoulders and loss of a full range of motion is another rare side effect of JE Vaccine. The pain can fade on its own however, in rare cases it becomes long-lasting.

  3. Sometimes people report severe allergic reactions after getting vaccinated. Only one in a million people will experience an allergic reaction. Normally, it occurs within a small period of time or several hours after getting injected.

If you feel that you are experiencing side effects like dizziness, shoulder, and joint pain for a long time after getting vaccinated then you should seek help from your healthcare provider.

Is Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine Necessary for Everyone?

viral disease vaccination

A JE virus vaccine, Credit: Canva

You might be taken aback when you will know that for some people, it is better to stay away from JE Vaccine. For the following people this vaccine is not necessary to be administered.

  1. If a man or woman has had a prior allergic reaction to this vaccine. Also, if they have had any episodes of high risk allergies in the past.

  2. Pregnant women should not take this vaccine.

  3. Those people who are traveling to urban cities and areas for less than a month. These people need not administer this vaccine to themselves as they are away from the danger zone of this virus.

  4. In addition to all the categories of people mentioned above, those with existing health conditions should not get vaccinated or they should wait for a considerable period of time until they have recovered to get vaccinated.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine Schedule

JE Vaccine schedule

A JE virus vaccine, Credit: Canva

The schedule consists of two doses of 0.25 ml vaccine to be administered on days 0 and 28 to those children who fall in the age group of less than 1 year or greater or equal to 3 years. For children who are older than 3 years and adults who are older or equal to 18 years of age, two doses of 0.5 ml is injected. It is still not known whether a booster shot is needed or not. The medical circle is still unclear on the question, Is Japanese Encephalitis vaccine for life? It  is not guaranteed that after being vaccinated the person will develop immunity against JE infection for their entire lifetime or not.

Japanese Encephalitis is indeed a very serious illness. The importance of this fact becomes pronounced of the absence of symptoms in infected people. People who are living in proximity to the rural areas or those who are travelling or have small children should consider themselves getting vaccinated.

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